If you’ve been working out for a while, you probably experienced a strength plateau. Not being able to progress in your workouts for weeks, even months, can be frustrating. Especially if you don’t know the cause.

In a desperate attempt to break free, you might search for ways to change-up your routine – adding supersets, new grips, using different exercises entirely.  These are some great methods to break through a plateau, and for a lot of people, they work.

But sometimes, they don’t.

When faced with a plateau, most people assume that it’s the usual problem; sticking to a routine too long, not enough intensity, etc.

But, in some cases, it can all be mental

A while back, I was stuck in a rut with pull-ups.

Of all the exercises to plateau on, pull-ups weren’t such a bad one…there are so many different variations that you can use to break out!

I switched my grip, tried doing static work, changed the pace…practically every commonly suggested way to get out of a plateau is something I tried.

But it didn’t work, and for weeks I couldn’t make progress on the pull-up. After weeks of going nowhere on the pull-up, I’d had enough. One workout, I just thought, “This is enough. I’m getting out of this plateau.” On my first set of pullups, I told myself I was going to increase my reps, and nothing was going to stop me. Telling myself that got me fired up. It made me actually believe I could break through the rut, and I did just that.

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The battle is real – Overcoming a mental plateau

During the plateau, the frustration builds and builds, and makes the entire experience worse. It crushes your confidence. It feels like you’ll never get out. So what now?

What worked best for me was, basically, punching that mean, motivation-killing voice straight in the nose. It held too much power over me, and it wasn’t making my life easier.

When that voice in my head started speaking up, “This is boring, why are you doing this?” or “Just stop. You won’t make it. You won’t reach your goals,” I’d stop what I was doing, sit down, and listen to all those thoughts. I even started taking notes of all of those negative thoughts.

“And I burned them. I mean, I literally burned my negative thoughts away.”

I took a lighter, that piece of paper, lit it and threw it into my chimney. Don’t do this if you don’t have a safe space to burn paper.

Burning this paper with my negative thoughts jotted down was incredibly therapeutic.

It was a physical act of removing crappy thoughts from my mind.

But I know that burning thoughts might not be the way to go for other people, so

I’ve compiled a shortlist of different coping mechanisms you can try out for yourself.

4 tips to overcoming your mental plateau

1. Stop working out for a bit.

Maybe all you need is actually changing your routine up. Take an extra day or two to rest, move your schedule and training routine around. Take a break, it might be all that you need.  

2. Get Inspired

Go follow some athletes whose work you like on Instagram, or on Youtube. A lot of these athletes have awesome tutorials, or even monthly challenge specials, like “30 days of hand balancing” or “30/30 squat challenge,” where you do 30 minutes of squats throughout the day for 30 days. Again, this has been successful for me in the past. I love discovering young athletes who are devoted to their art. They’re so incredibly inspiring to me.

3. Focus on a new skill.

Is there something you’ve been wanting to do but focused too much on your training routine to get to? A mental plateau would be an awesome opportunity to refocus your workout, even temporarily. I got to have fun with some cool hand balancing tricks that aren’t typically trained or taught since they’re very specific to movement transitions.

4.Teach someone something you have learnt

I love to share knowledge, especially stuff I just learned. In fact, I tend to get super excited when a friend asks me to show them how to do this thing I just learned. Often, it’s a move that requires some training and extra work, which I end up helping my friend to do. …and then we’re working out together.  

And the plateau is overcome without a thought!

I would really love to hear about how you deal your mental plateaus, so PLEASE, reach out! You can comment on my post, or share thoughts and ideas in our Facebook group.


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